We are living in crazy times to say the least. Once in a hundred years do we have a virus that shuts down schools, churches, restaurants and business. We are over 6 weeks into COVID here in Colorado and I’ve noticed a few trends around self-talk, self-care and overall wellness. For this reason, I did a facebook live 2 weeks ago to cover the topic (watch it here). This was also turned into a podcast you can listen to here. I created a workbook to help you find wellness during this very stressful time that you can access here – no strings attached.
This blog post will give you an overview of what is covered in those episodes and the workbook. There are TONS of links to get ready to get clicky.
We’re Not in Kansas Anymore
COVID has radically changed our lives. Who knows what will be the new normal and what is temporary. There is a lot of stress around our current state of being. The first step to tackling this is to acknowledging this is a different time so your wellness routine will also likely look different. Different isn’t good or bad, just different.
The workbook and audio (podcast and FB live) go through a great exercise of self-reflection. This is key to taking this current situation and changing it from a time filled with stress and frustration and turning it into a time of introspection and growth. That’s right, this situation is what you make it. Even if you are in the trenches (as I am) you can turn this into a growth experience. This is how resilience is nurtured. But you first need to decide that is what you want to do, which is often easier said than done.
4 Areas of Wellness
My definition of wellness is every changing. As I learn more, I tweak it a bit here and there. For the purposes of this post, I am using 4 key areas of wellness – physical activity, nutrition, social support and stress management. These are the areas that most people have told me they are struggling with. These are also areas where there are TONS of free or low-cost resources to address.
This is both moving your body daily and participating in intentional exercise. Moving your body is essential for health. How you do it is your choice, just do it. There is a great guide to getting exercise during busy times in the free resource library and on this blog post. This podcast talks about intentionally moving more and this one talks about how to approach exercise.
- Walk 30-45min a day. Need something to keep you moving? A local running group is offering a wide range of virtual challenge with super amazing t-shirts! I’m doing the 150 mile challenge and my husband is doing the 100 mile challenge. Check it out here.
- Do online classes. There are TONS of free resources, especially during COVID. My favorite is Fitness Blender. Many big names, like Peleton, offer free trials too!
- Buddy challenge: find a friend to keep you active. Challenge each other! Join my FB group if you need help finding a virtual buddy!
- Set a future goal.
Michael Pollen said it best – eat real food, not too much and mostly plants. Need some guidance for what to eat? Check out my Lean Green Eating Machine podcast, Macros that Matter podcast, and Sugar Elimination Podcast.
- Mindful eating: being aware of what you are eating, why you are eating it, and how it makes you feel. I have many resources on this website, including a complete guide to get started in the free resource library. and I did a podcast on it that you can listen to here.
- Meal planning: That thing you know you should do but also hate doing. I’ve posted about it quite a bit (here and here are just a few). I am offering 50% of my meal planning course during COVID (click here to read more). I’ve also done podcasts you can listen to here and here.
- Checkboxes: this is a simple method I recommend to give you insight into what you’re eating. I am not a fan of calorie counting but I do think you should be aware of the quality of your diet so you can choose how you nourish yourself. This method can be found in the free COVID Wellness PDF.
- Plan out how often you’ll eat out: You can control what you put into your mouth. Plan ahead for success.
We are social beings that need social interaction to thrive. You are not meant to do this alone! (bonus – podcast on this coming in 2 weeks!)
- Call someone daily
- Start a social group or regular meeting with friends. Virtual happy hour anyone?
- Video chat with someone weekly
- Do family dates. You and one other family member do something special together at home without the other family members. It will be meaningful and memorable.
- Meditation is a great way to calm your stress and train your brain to manage stress more easily. There are dozens of types, so find what works for you. Guided meditation is an easy way to get started. Headspace (free for health care workers with an NPI), Insight Timer and Meditation Studio are three great options.
- Mindfulness is the act of being present. So often we distance ourselves from emotions but mindfulness brings those experiences front and center. The free guide has some tips to get started. You can also read this blog post.
- Gratitude/positive affirmations can help change your outlook dramatically. There will be a podcast dropping this week on this very topic, so be sure to check it out! The free guide has some great tools to get starting on gratitude and positive affirmations. Also, check out this post on the health benefits of a positive outlook.
- Journal daily. I’ve talked about it before but journaling daily makes a huge difference. I often recommend this in the morning as part of a morning routine. You can check out how to get started with this blog post.
How to Make it Happen
Each Sunday schedule 30 min to plan out your week. This 30 min is NON-NEGOTIABLE. Think about it like a meeting with your boss.
Choose ONE thing to start doing this week and schedule it in with a time you will do it. Find a friend to hold you accountable or do it with you. If this week goes well, consider adding another thing next week. If it doesn’t go well, reset your expectations.
But What About the “Quarantine 15” or the “COVID 19?”
There is NO reason why you should be worrying about weight during this time. When we obsess about our weight we often end up worse off in the end. The obsession about it can lead to more cravings and overeating. It can also lead to more stress which can result in depression and apathy – a lack of desire to do anything.
Let’s say we were going to worry about weight. Do you know how much extra you’d have to eat (or less exercise you’d have to do) to gain 15 pounds? Let’s do the math. It takes 3500 calories above your basic needs to gain 1 pound. Fifteen pounds would be 52,500 calories (19 pounds would be 66,500 calories). Let’s say quarantine lasts 12 weeks. You’d need have 625 calories extra every.single.day for 12 weeks straight.
News flash – your body knows better. After you gain a few pounds you might feel sluggish or out of sorts. Your hunger will go down and your body will self-regulate to get you back to where you’re body wants to be. If you are taking an active role in all of this, you will KNOW that your body doesn’t feel good and you will be able to make appropriate changes.
If we aren’t paying attention to this we may be using food as numbing. This is a technique to avoid the uncomfortable feelings we are having. We have all be there – netflix binges instead of doing work, drinking to forget about an issue, eating just to eat when we feel bad about ourselves. Everyone has one form of numbing. But here’s the deal – numbing isn’t the answer. It NEVER works. The first step is to ID what you use for numbing. The second step is to decide you don’t want to numb. The third step is to get help based on what your numbing agent of choice is.
I have tons of tools on this blog to help you with intuitive and mindful eating. Just type it in the search bar and enjoy. There are also resources here and across the web to help you stay motivated and moving. Plus, if you need support, I offer a free facebook group for women (link here).
In case you need a reminder, here are a few blog posts to emphasize your weight does NOT determine your worth: